On 24 January The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, met with Leonard Peltier at the federal penitentiary located in Coleman, Florida where Mr. Peltier is incarcerated. Mr. Peltier is an activist and leader in the American Indian Movement and was convicted in 1977 following the deaths of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a clash on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Obama told Native American leaders that the declaration affirms the importance and rich cultures of Native peoples throughout the world. The U.S. voted against the declaration when the General Assembly adopted it in 2007, arguing that it was incompatible with existing laws. Three other countries, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, also opposed the declaration, but have since announced their support.
James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, made a historic visit to American Indian Movement member Leonard Peltier in prison on Friday – an event expected to boost the growing movement to free the American Indian activist who is believed by Amnesty International and other organizations to be a political prisoner. Peltier, Turtle Mountain Ojibway, is in United States Federal Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, now serving his 37th year in prison in what is widely believed to be a wrongful conviction.
A fact-finding mission to the United States by a Portuguese lawyer contracted by the United Nations to examine safe drinking water and sanitation found that at least 13 percent of the American Indian population lacks clean water, reported UPI Energy.
A planned uranium mine site in the southern Black Hills can impact four aquifers. Powertech, Inc. USA plans to begin uranium extraction in 2011 and operate for 15 years in the permit area of 10,580 acres located in Dewey and Burdock Counties, north of Edgemont, SD. PT plans to drill 4000-8000 wells to a depth of 400-800 feet underground to extract 1 million pounds uranium per year, initially using 4000 gallons of water per minute. As well as the four aquifers in this area, the site includes the surface water of Beaver Creek and Pass Creek, which empty into the Cheyenne River downstream from the mine site.